Q&A with AJ Bashaw and Sean Ryan (Brockton Rox)
Bashaw, Ryan talk about their summer with the Rox.
They never played together at Norton High School, but this summer AJ Bashaw and Sean Ryan are the only two players from Norton, who’re suiting up for the Brockton Rox in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
Bashaw, who has yet to register a win on the bump this season, has appeared in 10 games thus far and has struck out seven batters, while yielding 10 hits. His longest outing as a relief pitcher occurred on July 15 against Nashua, where he pitched 3 2/3 innings.
Ryan, who currently leads the league with four triples, has been the spark plug for the Rox offense. He’s played in 32 games, and has recorded 45 hits, 19 RBIs, 18 hits and 14 stolen bases. He recently earned a spot in the inaugural FCBL All-Star game, which will be played on Thursday, July 26 at Historic Holman Stadium in Nashua.
Prior to last Friday’s contest, Norton Patch caught up with both players to discuss the season thus far, as well as their baseball roots, too.
What’s your fondest memory of playing baseball?
AB: “Just playing with my dad. My dad was [my] coach, [so I remember playing] for him.”
SR: “Just always getting asked to play with the older guys. That was the thing I remember most, just that feeling of being the young guy out there and battling against the older guys.”
Has there been a special moment that either of you have endured throughout your young baseball career?
AB: “[The game I recorded 17 strikeouts in high school] was a fun game. It started off as nice weather, and then as the game went on it started to downpour, so it really limited my off-speed pitches, the ball was wet, and I just remember going out and battling.”
How do you think the Tri-Valley League measures up against other baseball conferences in the state? Do you feel the league helped prepare you for success in college?
AB: “It’s always great competition. You see the TVL teams always [playing] in the playoffs, so it’s always deep competition.”
SR: “TVL baseball has always been good. Teams like Medfield and Medway and Bellingham and Hopkinton [are some of the stronger squads]. When I was [a freshman], Bellingham was a powerhouse, so every year there’s another team that’s just a powerhouse and it’s just such great competition. Norton is a smaller school, and most of the schools are much larger than us, so it’s fun to play against them.”
Before playing with the Rox, did either of you attend games when Brockton competed in the CanAm League?
AB: “I used to come to a couple times when I was growing up, but due to playing baseball year round, I didn’t really have much time [to attend games].”
SR: “We’ve both played [at Campanelli Stadium] before we joined this team through Norton. We love the stadium. It’s awesome playing here.”
What’d you both know about the FCBL? Did either of you play in this league last year?
AB: “I didn’t play [in this league last year], but I had my sights set here [this past spring].”
SR: “I was supposed to play last year, but I got injured.”
What’re your thoughts on the league overall? How has the competition been?
AB: “You’re well taken care of [in this league]. It’s a new league and for a league that is only two-years-old, we have some great players in it, and it just seems like every year they get better [players].”
SR: “It’s good competition. Every team has their great players, so I think it’s a great league all around from coaches to how they treat [players] after the game and before the game, so I just think it’s a great league.”
From a pitching perspective, A.J, how have you progressed after the loss against Nashua?
AB: “That was one of my longer outings of the season and I haven’t been stretched out much since high school because I have been on strict bullpen duty in college, so it was good to see that I was able to consistently go out, throw strikes and I didn’t lose mechanics or anything after being stretched out.”
From a hitting perspective, Sean, what has worked for you this season?
SR: “It’s just all about seeing the baseball. You’re seeing better pitchers, so you’re going to see more off-speed pitches, more curveballs, it’s all about seeing the ball deep and just driving the other way because you’re not going to see [the various pitches I have experienced at Wheaton College].”
Do either of you have a favorite ballpark in the league? If so, which one?
AB: “All the field are beautiful, but one of my favorite fields is the field in Pittsfield, [Wahconah Park] because it’s got a throwback feel. You’ve got all the past players who played there, and being an old professional stadium, so it’s just part of the lore that goes with older stadiums.”
SR: “[Campanelli Stadium], definitely. The fans are great here. They appreciate us, they appreciate how hard we play, and I love all the kids that come out because they just enjoy the game and being here, and that makes me enjoy the game more. It’s just a fun environment, I love this place.”
What’s one thing that you’ve enjoyed most about playing for the Rox?
AB: “The first time that we signed autographs as a team [was special]. Every fan just kept coming, every little kid gave you the biggest smile, and you [realize] that you made that kid’s day, so it gives you a good feeling.”
Finally, what do you think your team needs to do in order to secure a spot in the playoffs? Do either of you have a particular goal or objective you’d like to accomplish before the season concludes?
SR: “We’ve just got to be more consistent. Get more consistent at the plate, pitching, fielding, so if we do that we’ll be fine.”